[Fairy Bells: The Genus Disporum East of the Cascade Mountains of Oregon and Washington]

Fairy Bells, Drops-of-gold, Hooker Fairy-bell, Hooker's Fairybells, Oregon Drops-of-gold, Oregon Fairy Bells

Prosartes hookeri

Synonyms: Disporum hookeri, Disporum hookeri var. hookeri, Disporum hookeri var. oreganum, Disporum hookeri var. parviflorum, Disporum hookeri var. trachyandrum, Disporum oreganum, Disporum parvifolium, Disporum trachyandrum, Prosartes hookeri var. oregana

Drops-of-gold, Hooker Fairy-bell, Hooker's Fairybells, Oregon Drops-of-gold, Oregon Fairy Bells: Prosartes hookeri (Synonyms: Disporum hookeri, Disporum hookeri var. hookeri, Disporum hookeri var. oreganum, Disporum hookeri var. parviflorum, Disporum hookeri var. trachyandrum, Disporum oreganum, Disporum parvifolium, Disporum trachyandrum, Prosartes hookeri var. oregana)

Fairy bells and pollinating bumblebee.


Characteristics:

Fairy bells is a lovely perennial wildflower with several to many erect to ascending stems rising 30-60 cm high. The stems are slender, not much-branched, and somewhat pubescent above. The narrowly ovate to oblong-ovate leaves taper gradually to a point and are found entirely on the stems. They are strongly to obliquely cordate at the base and have wavy margins. Individual leaves have parallel venation and measure from 5-15 cm long.

The inflorescence is a cluster of 2-5 pendant flowers at the tips of the stems. The individual flowers are white and bell-shaped, the 6 tepals elliptic in shape with narrow bases and measuring from 9-18 mm long. The stamens are about as long as or longer than the tepals. The fruit is a red berry measuring from 7-9 mm long and ellipsoid-obovoid in shape with one slightly pointed end.

Fairy bells are similar in appearance to Sierra fairy bells, but the dorsal leaf surface of fairy bells is hairy with the hairs of the ciliate margins pointing forwards.

Fairy bells are excellent plants for use in the shade garden. They are best used at mid-depth in a shaded flower bed or as a medium height plant lining a path through the woods. They will also set seed fairly easily to spread, but are not as invasive as many non-native plants.


Stem leaf of Drops-of-gold, Hooker Fairy-bell, Hooker's Fairybells, Oregon Drops-of-gold, Oregon Fairy Bells: Prosartes hookeri (Synonyms: Disporum hookeri, Disporum hookeri var. hookeri, Disporum hookeri var. oreganum, Disporum hookeri var. parviflorum, Disporum hookeri var. trachyandrum, Disporum oreganum, Disporum parvifolium, Disporum trachyandrum, Prosartes hookeri var. oregana)


Habitat:

Fairy bells are found in moist shaded woods. They can tolerate fairly deep shade.


Range:

Fairy bells may be found from British Columbia south along both sides of the Cascade Mts. to northwestern Oregon and east in B.C. and northern Washington to west-central and northern Idaho and western Montana.


Paul Slichter